By Rachel Korosec
(TORONTO, ON) – Michael Pietrzak, an alumnus of the master of arts, political science program at the University of Windsor, is spearheading a fundraising campaign this spring to bring solar-powered lamps to students in Zambia. Pietrzak and a team from LightSeed Energy are determined to raise enough money to serve thousands of deserving families in rural Zambia.
"My international relations seminars at the University of Windsor took what was a keen interest in development work for me and turned it into a full blown calling,” said Pietrzak. “What I learned at Windsor about lifting up communities from the grassroots I’m now directly applying in villages in Zambia."
Last year, Pietrzak co-founded LightSeed Energy, a social enterprise whose mission is to help Africans lift themselves out of poverty with solar energy. He came up with the concept after working at a refugee camp in Malawi.
LightSeed Energy’s first fundraising campaign in late 2013 raised almost $9,000. “Energy poverty creates so many problems for health, the economy and our environment,” said Pietrzak. “With the dollars raised in round two, we aim to reach thousands of families who live in the dark.”
This spring, the Crowdfunder TV Show will feature LightSeed Energy on Fox 29. Each episode focuses on a few inspirational projects and allows viewers to donate. Contributors can give $10, $25, $50 or $100 in exchange for gift cards of corresponding value from retailers like Starbucks, Home Depot, and Petro Canada.
This means that the donors are technically not “out” any money. Net dollars will go directly to Africa in the form of lamps. A team from LightSeed Energy will then pay their own way to Zambia to personally distribute these lamps to students and families in spring 2014.